Tennessee State University cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, was chosen by the Arizona Cardinals as their first pick in the NFL draft on Saturday, April 26, 2008. DRC was the sixteenth overall pick of the draft and is the first TSU Tiger player picked in the first round since 1974 when Ed “Too Tall” Jones was picked as the #1 overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, followed by Waymond Bryant at #4 by the Chicago Bears.
He is the first Tiger drafted into the NFL since 2000 when wide receiver Avion Black was picked in the 5th round by the Buffalo Bills.
Dominique, a 6-2, 184 athlete from Bradenton, Florida, was a four-year starter for the Big Blue and a concensus first team All-American (FCS), a Sheridan Black College All-American and was tabbed the 2007 Black College Sports Page Defensive Player of the Year. He was recently named the Tennessee State University "Male Athlete of the Year."
He was a two-time first team All-Ohio Valley Conference player at defensive back. He was the 2007 Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Track Championship “Most Outstanding Male Athlete” after winning the 60 yd. dash (6.89), the Long Jump (25’-0”) and High-Jump (6’-9.5”). He finished second in the Triple Jump.
DRC was the second defensive back selected in this year’s NFL and saw his stock rise after impressive performances at the 2008 Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. He was named the defensive MVP at the Senior Bowl. At the NFL Combine he ran 4.33 in the 40-yd dash, leaped 38.5” in the vertical jump and 10’11” in the broad jump.
Rodgers-Cromatie’s first round selection ties Tennessee State with Jackson State among HBCU schools with the most first round selections at seven. TSU had been tied with Grambling State at six since 1978, when Doug Williams was picked at #17 in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Dominique played his first game as a freshman at TSU in 2004, entering in the second half against Alabama A&M. His second game, against Jackson State, Rodgers-Cromartie picked off his first interception, which he returned 35 yds for the winning TD in TSU’s 21-20 win over Jackson State. He has been a starter ever since.
Highlighting his career, DRC finished with 11 interceptions (six in 2006) with 4 TDs, 158 tackles with eight TFLs (30) and seven blocked kicks (4 in 2007). He returned punts and kickoffs racking up 1,246 yards in All-Purpose yards, averaging 92.4 yds/gm in 2007.
Five former Tennessee State Tigers have been on the Cardinals’ roster, Patrick Robinson-WR/KR (1994), Larry Tharpe-OT (1995), Cedric Davis-CB (1995), Simon Shanks-LB (1995), and Eric Joyce-DB (2004).